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Corydon Chinese spot offers authentic delights... but you’ll have to ask

Steamed tofu with shrimp and fish fillet balls at the Sunshine Chinese Restaurant.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Steamed tofu with shrimp and fish fillet balls at the Sunshine Chinese Restaurant.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/12/2015 (1769 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Opinion

Even though the Corydon strip is one of the city’s most restaurant-dense areas, the few Chinese options are mostly takeout or delivery.

But that’s not the case behind Sunshine’s bright yellow door. It, too, has one of those standard menus for in-house dining and takeout or delivery, but I didn’t try them. I had come for the special menu of authentic Chinese specialties — in English, unlike the Chinese-only practice at other places.

The wise diner who asks for it will be rewarded with some delicious specialties. It’s small, as Chinese menus go — just 50 items — but the portions are huge, with most main courses ranging from $9.95 to $15.95.

Several dishes are very spicy. It pays to ask before ordering, and the degree of heat will be reduced on request.

Many of the dishes may be familiar, but the menu also delivers such lesser-known specialties as the fabulous No. 26 — succulent head- and shell-on prawns in an incendiary coating, with a milder stir-fry of thin strips of celery, chunks of potatoes and little cubes of red chili peppers. The wild pepper referred to in the description is actually Szechuan pepper, which isn’t a pepper at all, but a crushed berry that adds a slightly citrusy flavour and a bit of tang.

I liked all I tried, both hot and mild; as it happened, one of my favourites was one of the mildest — the lightly breaded little pieces of basa fish, with a fresh, delicate flavour, greaselessly deep-fried and strewn with shreds of ginger and green onion. With them came a light, soy-based sauce for dipping.

I’m always delighted when I find Lion’s head meatballs on a menu. These are enormous, but with a light and springy texture, bathed in a dark but mild soy-based sauce with hints of five spice. I prefer the more common garnish of leafy Chinese greens (representing the lion’s mane), but the little chunks of broccoli that were used instead were perfectly cooked.

Lion's Head meatballs at the Sunshine Chinese Restaurant.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Lion's Head meatballs at the Sunshine Chinese Restaurant.

Tender, stir-fried strips of lamb seasoned with cumin seeds are spiked also by a sprinkling of hot chili powder. More moderately spiced is the meltingly soft fried eggplant, which comes in strips instead of the usual chunks, with minced pork in a very garlicky sauce with a slightly sweet tinge from sweet-bean paste.

I often find bamboo shoots too earthy for my taste, but I loved them here, stir-fried with strips of pork and chili sauce.

Although for most of us soup is the first course, in many Chinese dinners it’s the last one, and if your mouth is still alive with a blaze of chili, I’d suggest ending with the soothing and delicious tofu soup with ground beef and cilantro.

The interior — with a sunshine-yellow wall and columns — is cosy and comfortable, the service is pleasant and exceptionally accommodating.

*  *  *

I have always made a point of replying to all emails and letters, but the response to my column on hospital food was so overwhelming it was impossible for me to answer them individually.

So I’m taking this opportunity to thank all who sent their good wishes for my recovery and who shared their own experiences with hospital food. I appreciated and was touched by all of them.

Thank you all, and try to keep well.

marion.warhaft@freepress.mb.ca

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History

Updated on Wednesday, December 16, 2015 at 1:01 PM CST: Adds map

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